Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Center for Special Studies
(C.S.S), October 23, 2005.
In a ceremony held in the Gaza Strip on October 13, 2005, the Al-Ansar Charity
Association distributed a sum of one million dollars, granted by Iran, to families
of shahids (i.e., terrorists killed during the confrontation with Israel) whose
homes had been demolished and to families of detainees in the Gaza Strip.
The ceremony was sponsored by Palestinian president Abu Mazen, who was
represented by former Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Hisham Abd al-Razeq, and
attended also by several Legislative Council members.
In a speech given on Abu Mazen’s behalf, Abd al-Razeq stated that the
Palestinian Authority formulated its ‘national plans’ to liberate the Palestinian
land and issued a call to fight against the (Security) Fence, the settlements, and
the Judaization of Jerusalem. (1)
In a speech given during the ceremony, Nafez Uthman Abd al-Rahman al-A’raj,
a Palestinian Islamic Jihad activist who heads the Al-Ansar Charity Association,
stated that the association had resumed its activity after years of hiatus that
resulted from “the Israeli aggression” against the association’s offices, (2)
seizing its funds, and closing its accounts in several banks.(3)
Al-Ansar Charity Association Secretary Nasser al-Sheikh added that the Martyrs
Foundation, operating in Iran , had extended its patronage over all the families
of shahids who had died defending the Palestinian land.
Since the beginning of the confrontation, said Al-Sheikh, the association
assisted some 3,996 shahids (5,000 USD per family) and 200 detainees (1,000
USD per detainee). He added that the Al-Ansar Charity Association paid
monthly salaries to families of 1,940 shahids, ranging from 75 USD to a
shahid’s son to 250 USD to a shahid who had been married. Furthermore,
Nasser al-Sheikh announced that Iran ’s Martyrs Foundation would provide
funds (4) for a new project to compensate families of shahids whose homes
had been demolished.
Characteristics of the Al-Ansar Charity Association and its leader
The Al-Ansar Association is an Islamic charity association founded in 2001 and
declared an illegal organization by Israel in 2003. The association operates in
the Gaza Strip, holds close contacts with Iran, and is a Palestinian branch of the
Iranian Martyrs Foundation. The association operates under the auspices of the
Hezbollah-owned Martyr Institution in Lebanon, the Lebanese branch of the
Iranian Martyrs Foundation.
The association’s primary focus is providing financial aid to families of
terrorists, both shahids and detainees, from all the terrorist organizations. It is
headed by Nafez Uthman al-A’raj, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad activist directed by
the Hezbollah in Lebanon.
To the best of our knowledge, Al-A’raj has held contacts with terrorist
operatives, assisted in guiding terrorist infrastructures in the Gaza Strip, and
been involved in coordinating arms and ammunition smuggling operations to
terrorist infrastructures in the Gaza Strip.
The significance of Palestinian Authority representatives’ participation in
the funds distribution ceremony
The Al-Ansar Association, supported by Iran (and Hezbollah), is therefore part
of the broad civilian infrastructure that serves as a tool for assisting terrorists
and their families (families of shahids, detainees, or families whose homes were
The participation of Abu Mazen’s representative in the distribution
ceremony of one million dollars (a substantial figure in its own right) originating
in Iran demonstrates that the Palestinian Authority continues to avoid
confronting the terrorist-supportive infrastructure, for the most part operated by
Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Furthermore, the very participation of Palestinian Authority
representatives in the funds distribution ceremony provides legitimacy for the
continued activity of the Al-Ansar Charity Association and other associations
run by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Another recent expression of Abu Mazen’s preference not to confront the
terrorist organizations can be found in a reference he made in a speech given to
the Legislative Council (October 26) to Luay Saadi and Majed al-Ashqar, two
senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist operatives killed in an exchange of fire
with IDF forces in Tulkarm (October 24, 2005). Abu Mazen chose to refer to
those terrorists, who had stood behind the terrorist attacks at Tel-Aviv’s Stage
nightclub (February 2005) and a shopping mall in Netanya (July 2005) as
“excellent fellows” (Al-Jazeera Television, October 26).
The Iranian Martyrs Foundation
The Martyrs Foundation was formed in Iran in 1980, in the wake of the
Iran-Iraq War, in order to help the families of those killed, missing, or taken
captive. As one of Iran ’s means of exporting the revolution, the foundation has
branches worldwide. Iran considers the generous support it provides to ‘charity
associations’ in the Palestinian Authority administered territories (such as
Al-Ansar) a means to support the terrorist organizations, mainly the Palestinian
Islamic Jihad and Hamas, and an instrument for acquiring influence among the
The Al-Ansar Charity Association (Source: www.el-ansar.org, June 23, 2004)
1). Al-Ayyam, October 13, 2005.
2). A possible reference to the IDF Air Force strikes on the association’s offices
(May 12, 2004 and September 29, 2004).
3). A possible reference to Operation Green Torch carried out by Israeli security
forces on February 25, 2004, during which Arab Bank and Cairo Amman Bank
branches in Ramallah were raided and terrorist funds in those banks’ accounts
in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were confiscated.
4). Al-Ayyam, October 13, 2005.